Friday, November 5, 2010

Parent-teacher conferences are well under way! I have really enjoyed talking with so many of you and I look forward to meeting/seeing the rest of you in the next few weeks! Please remember that I can always be contacted via email or phone if you have any further questions or concerns about your child! I want to make sure that we are always on the same page and working together to ensure students’ success!

Keep reading for an overview of our week in Room 13:

This was a review week for us in reading. We did not read a new story in our anthology, but instead reviewed all the important spelling rules/patterns (short and long vowels), grammar skills (punctuation, different kinds of sentences, nouns, past-tense verbs, subjects/predicates), reading comprehension strategies (identifying characters and setting, making predictions, describing main idea/details), graphic organizers (T-charts, beginning/middle/end flowcharts), vocabulary, and writing skills. Whew! We have been very busy!

On Thursday, students had the opportunity put this knowledge and understanding to good use as they worked to complete the Unit 1 reading assessment.

As with reading, this week’s spelling list was also review. Students’ lists consisted of words with short and long vowels (with the “sneaky e”). The format of the spelling test was a little different this week, however, and will be for review weeks. Instead of writing words in isolation, students were asked to complete a dictation – writing full sentences as they are read by the teacher. This kind of assessment demonstrates students’ ability to pull together all their knowledge of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. The ultimate goal of spelling tests is for students to APPLY their knowledge of spelling rules/patterns more consistently in their everyday writing. I hope that these dictations will help them get used to this!

This week, we learned more about past-tense verbs. Students should now know that most (but not all) past-tense verbs end with –ed.

Many verbs can be changed by simply adding –ed.
      Example: walk --> walked

Verbs that already end with “e” can be changed to past-tense by just adding –d.
      Example: smile --> smiled

Other verbs are a little trickier. Verbs that follow the consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) pattern and have a short vowel sound usually must have the last consonant doubled before adding the –ed (to keep the vowel short).
      Example: trip --> tripped

Since students are familiar with “sneaky e,” I explain this rule as follows:
When “Sneaky e” is at the end of a word, it can hop over 1 letter. If the letter it lands on is a vowel, it makes the vowel say its name (the long vowel sound).

If you want a short vowel to stay short when you add –ed, check to make sure that the “sneaky e” can’t hop over and make the vowel say its name.
      Example: hop --> h o p e d    OOPS!
If “sneaky e” can make the vowel say its name and you don’t want it to, you need to double the last consonant to “block” it!
      Example: hop --> h o p p e d

Of course, there are always exceptions and we will learn about irregular verbs in a few more weeks. For now, however, students should work to apply these rules to their own writing…please encourage this!

As mentioned last week, Unit 3 begins by reviewing and expanding upon some basic math concepts, including place value, time, and money. This week, we focused primarily on time and money.

Time – I have noticed that some children still “mix up” the hour and minute hands on the analog clock. With all the digital clocks everywhere (on the microwave, in the car, etc.), it’s hard for students to understand why they need to learn how to tell time on an analog clock. Please encourage them to use an analog clock whenever possible! (A watch is a great gift idea…) 

Money – At this point in their academic careers, students should be able to quickly and accurately identify coins (front and back) and their values. Students should also be comfortable with combining coins and determining the total values. The only way to solidify this understanding is through practice! I will continue working with money here at school … and I would greatly appreciate it if you could do the same at home!

On Friday, we had another math lab. With the help of some great parents, students reinforced their understanding of time (making clock booklets), and place value (creating place value kites and playing Dino Math Tracks). Take a look below!


We wrapped up our first Science unit this week:  Properties of Matter.  Students had a chance to show off what they knew on the end-of-unit assessment - and they did a great job! I'm hoping that students will remember most of the fun experiments and activities we did for years to come! :)  And now, it's off to Maps & Globes...

Mystery Reader
Our Mystery Reader today was Julie's mom! She read two wonderful stories:  The Marshmallow Incident by Judi Barrett and Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman.  Students were thrilled, as always, to have a guest in the room and really enjoyed listening to these stories.  What a wonderful way to end the week - thank you, Mrs. Chambers!

We have been keeping busy here in Room 13…and I bet you have been doing the same at home!  With all the hustle and bustle – games, practices, meetings, etc. – it’s a good idea to check in with your child.  How was his day?  What did she learn today?  This will help you stay connected with your child and with our classroom! J

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